Southwestern Arizona

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December 19th, 2007

LAKE HAVASU – The shad are becoming more prevalent and have been sighted in large quantities in the Site Six Marina and on the north end of the lake. They are beginning to increase in quantity at Sand Point Marina.  They can be easily netted with traditional shad nets they are quite active right now and quick. If you are missing out on catching and retrieving shad because of this, consider crimping on additional net weights to enhance and increase the speed of nets descent.

Another method of retrieval is to make and/or purchase an umbrella net. Toss this net out and let it sink to the bottom, then quickly pull upward on the net and the shad will be pulled inward toward the center of the net. This technique is quite a successful method for catching increased quantities of shad. Load up your shad bait bucket and add a bait preservative such as Shad Keeper to prolong the life of the bait.  Avoid handling the shad and use a dip net when possible to catch them to rig.

Stripers are hitting and chasing shad and shad-colored crank baits right now.

The smallmouth bass are feasting on them as well. Target areas are 12 to 15 feet near rock points and natural wood habitat up river in the current.

Largemouth bass are not as active due to the water temperature declining but they can be caught during the early morning hours using Carolina rigs with 4-6 inch curly tail worms over or on the edges of the remaining weed lines in the backs of the coves.

Important notice:  Quagga mussels have been found in Lake Havasu so proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please move to the parking lot, DRAIN your live-wells and bilge where the water does not return to the lake. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, INSPECT your watercraft and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

ALAMO LAKE – Both the Big Sandy and the Santa Maria have had good runoff flows this past several weeks. This should help the lake level and the nutrient loading at Alamo.
Following report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park. Well folks, you’re still not missing allot out here. Cold mornings followed by afternoon winds.  Bass fishing is tough. I just talked with a couple of guys that caught two bass after fishing all day. They were throwing small grubs into 3 to 10 feet of water. Like me, they could not buy a bite in 20 to 30 feet of water. Crappie fishing is not much better. Two crappies a day is about the norm this week. The surface water temp has been bouncing from 60 to 55 degrees all week.  It’s not going to be long before they turn on. Catfishing is okay though. An angler reported yesterday that he caught eight catfish in the upper end of the lake in about 3 feet of water.  He was using anchovies and night crawlers.  We do not sell anchovies here, so bring em with you.  Shore fishing is lousy right now and will be until spring. Hopefully I’ll have better news next week.  The lake level is at 1,010 with releases of 25 cfs. Remember warm clothes. We have been hitting low 30s for morning temps.

Winter Outlook:

Alamo Lake:

The lake elevation continues to decline.  Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be excellent to slow down throughout the winter. It looks like most bass will be entering the protected slot some time during the winter months. Crappies are also doing OK and should be good throughout the winter.  Channel catfish continue to look good and fishing should be good also. There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish and carp that are a lot of fun to catch this winter.  All types of bait should work right now and as the weather cools off a shift to slowly working plastics in deeper water for bass could improve your catch.  For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits as well as chicken livers and anything else you can think of should work. 

Both of the boat ramps are useable at this time but if the lake elevation continues to decline launching may become a problem. The store at the lake is still closed so you need to bring everything with you. If you run short of anything you might be able to pick it up at the Wayside Inn or in Wenden. The certified scale that was located at the store is now located at the Alamo State Park Office and the park office also has live bait for the crappie fishermen.


Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:

Largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass are expected to be fair. The size will range from 13 inches and up with an occasional fish greater than 4 pounds.  Striped bass will continue to be excellent for small fish (12-18 inches) with occasional fish over 8 pounds.  The lake is also full of smaller striper that will make it challenging to catch the larger fish.  Channel catfish as well as bluegill & redear sunfish will be fair to good. Flathead catfish fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm) through the fall. Sizes of flathead catfish can reach as high as 40 pounds. When fishing for them select the interior points in the coves and the areas where artificial structure has been placed.

The cooler weather causes the bite to slow down so it is important to work your lures slower and in deeper water.  Put away your topwater lures and switch to plastics, crank baits, spinner baits, jigs, cut fish, live shad, etc.  

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area):

Smallmouth bass with fish over two pounds in size are expected to be fair this winter.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be fair in the pound plus sizes. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair using live shad or anchovies this winter.

This stretch of the river will be low during the month of January so access will be limited.  The good news is that the fish will be concentrated.
Colorado River (between Palo Verde Diversion Dam and Walter’s Camp):

This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) and largemouth bass (in the backwaters) throughout the entire area. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River. Most of the flathead catfish will be in the 2 to 5 pound size range with an occasional fish over 30 pounds. The time for fishing for both species of catfish is in the evening to midnight.  

Colorado River (between Walter’s Camp and Picacho State Park):

This section of the Colorado River is relatively remote and can only be accessed by boat from either end. Fishing is expected to be fair to good for flathead catfish with sizes over 40 pounds. The best time for fishing for both species of catfish will be in the evening to midnight.  Largemouth bass and bluegill are also present in the various backwaters and slack water areas. Other species available in the main river are smallmouth bass, and striped bass.

Colorado River (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam):

This area is expected to be fair to good for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Bass and channel catfish in excess of 5 pounds are present along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds. Bluegill are also present in the various backwaters and an occasional striped bass will be caught in the main river channel.

Colorado River (between Laguna and Morelos dams):

This area will be fair for largemouth bass and flathead catfish. Bass in excess of 5 pounds is common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds is a good bet. In this area accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released. Usually shallow draft boats work the best. The lower end has had some dredging work done and the larger boat will be able to get on the river in that area.

With the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this area I would away from that area (Pilot Knob to Moreles Dam).

Regional Hot Spots:

Alamo Lake will be the hot spot for Largemouth bass and channel catfish.  Since there appears to be more fish in the lake at the present time I recommend keeping as many of the smaller bass as you can legally possess in order to try and reduce the population a little.  Next choice would be Lake Havasu for striped bass, Lake Havasu & Parker Strip for smallmouth bass, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp for flathead catfish.  

If you need any additional information or additional don’t hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 341-4051 and I will be happy to accommodate you.

Yuma Regional office at (928) 341-4051 and I will be happy to accommodate you.

2 Responses to “Southwestern Arizona”

  1. Hello,
    I will be flying in to stay in Havasu city for the month of March.
    I can not afford a guide and would like to know the kind of tackle, colors, and lures to bring with me from New York. Please be kind enough to give me moderate run down of the fishing venues in Havasu.
    John Mariano

  2. John;

    Havasu in March is good for largemouth bass, striped bass and smallmouth bass. Our primary bait fish is shad. Anything shad like should work for any or all of them. Stripers and smallmouth can spawn in March. Largemouth typically start spawning in late March or early April.

    In March, I like fishing toward either the Bill Williams Wildlife Area (inflows attract stripers etc.) or way at the other end of the lake toward Topock Gorge (where the Colorado River comes in).

    The best information can be gleaned by a visit to the local tackle shops and any of the RV parks.

    Good luck;

    Rory Aikens
    Fishing Report Editor
    Arizona Game and Fish Department

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